[ William John Charles Pitcher Wilhelm, costume designer.] Illustrations of costumes for the Empire Theatre ballet 'The Press' (1898), each representing a Fleet Street newspaper.

[ William John Charles Pitcher Wilhelm (1858-1925), costume and theatre designer; Empire Theatre, London; Leopold Wenzel; Katti Lanner; Dame Adeline Genée (1878-1970), ballet dancer; Fleet Street ]
Publication details: 
Without place or date. [ Ballet performed at the Empire Theatre, London in 1898.]
SKU: 19283

In black and white on 34 x 23 cm shiny art paper. Possibly extracted from an unnamed periodical. Lightly aged and worn, and ruckled from being laid down on paper backing. Tiny chip lost at foot. Sixteen female figures are shown, in costumes representing newspapers from the 'Daily Mail' to 'The Sketch', and including 'Mdlle. Zangfretta as Fashion', around a central representation of a scene from the ballet, featuring Adeline Genée as the Liberty of the Press. Mark Edward Perugini, in his 'Art of Ballet' (1915), states of Genée that 'it was her performance as the Spirit of the "Liberty of the Press" in the famous Empire ballet, "The Press" (invented and designed by Mr. Wilhelm with the choreographic support of Mme. Lanner and music by Mons. Wenzel), on February 14th, 1898, that first marked her "and for many years to come" as a London "star." The ballet gave her scope for some wonderful and proved immensely popular. It was a novel idea, artistically carried out, and illustrated the history and power of the Fourth Estate. A number of charming coryphees were ingeniously attired as representatives of the various newspapers, boys' costumes indicating the morning and girls' the evening journals. The venerable Times was typified by a man in the guise of Father Time, with hour-glass and other symbols of his ancient office, and accompanied by a retinue. Mme. Cavallazzi represented Caxton, Father of the Printing Press; Mile. Zanfretta, the Spirit of Fashion; and there were typical costumes for The Standard, The Daily Telegraph, The Globe, The Daily Mail (then two years old! ), The Illustrated London News (who announced that she was " Established 1842 "), The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, The Lady's Pictorial, The Sketch, The Referee, and others too numerous to name. So popular did the ballet prove that this also ran for months, and it was not until October of the same year that a new production, " Alaska," was staged, the scenario of which was by Mr. Wilhelm, the choregraphy by Mme. Lanner, and music by Mons. Wenzel.'